Irregular heartbeats and menopause?

catherinetJanuary 10, 2004

Hi all,

I'm 54 and haven't had a period for a year now. Last August I started getting irregular heartbeats. A few tests show that my hearts okay. I've heard of alot of women developing irregular heartbeats with menopause. They're really scary and I hate them. Anyone else have this problem?

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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Yes, they are scary. That is why it's good to have your regular checkups. I think there is a relationship between the irregular heart beat and hot flashes, but I forget what it is. I always just move or take a deep breath or wiggle around and it goes away.
My symptom that is not always mentioned is sudden very cold feet. I think hands too, but it is easier to warm your hands.
Sammy

    Bookmark   January 12, 2004 at 8:39PM
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yellowhair

Sometimes this happens when I've had too much cola, which has too much caffiene. Could that be some of the problem?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2004 at 10:57PM
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catherinet

Thanks Sammy and Yellowhair,
I've had to give up caffeine, since it makes the irregular beats even worse. What's weird is that eating makes it happen. If I didn't eat, I'd probably not have them. Any kind of carbonated drink (even without caffeine) makes it worse. The fact that it happens when I eat makes me wonder if it's more to do with my esophogus. I know there are alot of nerves in the esophagus that also go to the heart. Seems like once you start aging (I'm 54), all hell breaks loose!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2004 at 7:18AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

It happens right after you eat? Don't you think you ought to have your blood sugar tested? It could be the beginning of hypoglycemia, diabetes, or something like that, that you could control with nutritional changes now before it is out of hand. Does it happen after certain foods? I am allergic to milk, and my heart will race if I eat yogurt or almost any milk product on an empty stomach. That is also the beginning to my egg allergy. I love a salad, but again, I need to eat first then have the salad. You might want to check into some things.
(I am 61 and have never felt better. Hot flashes annoy me, but I have not sweated like some people.)
Sammy

    Bookmark   January 18, 2004 at 10:30PM
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catherinet

Thanks Sammy,
I've had my blood sugar checked and it's normal. When I used to eat too many carbs, I would feel hypoglycemic at times, but since I've been watching what I eat, I don't feel that way any more. It's so bizarre. If I didn't eat, I wouldn't have any irregular beats. I've heard that there are alot of nerves in the esophogus, and some of them go to the heart. It almost seems like something there is getting irritated, which effects my heart. Of course, my cardiologist and GI doc look at me like I'm an alien when I tell them this. It is sooooo obvious that it is brought on by my eating. The worst things for me seem to be caffeine, carbonated drinks, coffee, chocolate, and salty things. It happens alot if I eat much carbos too. It's sooooo weird.
But I read on another menopause forum that a couple women also developed irregular heartbeats at this time in their lives, and it seemed to happen when they would eat.
I'm getting very tired of it. It's quite scary, and I wish they would stop. Calcium/magnesium supplements seem to help alot, but I still have them. What's curious is that I don't have them at night or morning.......just after lunch, and then the afternoon and early evening, and then they subside. How curious! Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2004 at 9:26AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Gee Catherine, I don't have other suggestions, but that is a spooky feeling. I am so glad you have asked your doctor and that you are handling it. If you ever find a key, would you let me know?
Sammy

    Bookmark   January 19, 2004 at 2:10PM
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catherinet

Hi Sammy,
I'll let you know......but I think it's going to be one of those "mysteries of life" that I tend to have alot of! :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2004 at 7:22AM
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yellowhair

Hi CatherineT,
I can only tell you that I've had the irregular heartbeats many times and I've been going thru menopause for several years. I went thru it very early, my doctor wanted me to take the estrogen so I could re-start my periods-----I said----no thanks!

They have subsided, I never did give up the caffeine. I just coped with it and kept telling myself that it would pass. It seems to me that every morning that I get up, there's a new ache or pain----LOL---so I just get up and go for a walk and honestly, they don't feel so bad. Now, if I sit around and watch the depressing news and think about my aches and pains-------then I can really make myself feel sick. Not that I'm saying this is what's happening to you----just telling you what I do.

Is there something you're doing after lunch that would cause you more stress than other times? Or, maybe it is allergy problems, a particular food that you eat for lunch. I also understand that some herbal supplements have caffeine in them.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2004 at 8:19PM
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Rainebeau22

Hello--
First-timer here. I'm curious--what are your irregular heartbeats like (anyone)? I'm close to menopause (would have been closer had I not just had a period after ten months without!) and I have had irregularities since 1993. I did all the tests, doctors not worried, labelled them "premature ventricular contractions" and said around 10% of people have them and most don't even realize it. Still. My heart will be beating along, then there's a pause...then a BIG BEAT, then normal. Sometimes I'll have them every six to ten beats for a spell, sometimes a long time between, sometimes just an isolated one. I (almost) never notice them during the day, just at night when I'm going to sleep. The doctors did say that caffeine and alcohol tend to bring them on, and exercise is helpful. I have heard of women having irregular beats due to menopause, but I wonder if it's the same, different? Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 3:01AM
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catherinet

Thanks Yellowhair and Rainebeau,
Rainebeau......I like you're little movie there! Yes, my PVCs feel like your's. There's this huge thump in my chest, and it takes my breath away and causes me to cough. At first, I thought they were from the 1 coke I used to have each afternoon, then they started happening every time I would eat. I thought I figured out what foods were causing it, but now it's happening all the time. Mostly, it's after lunch and goes until after dinner. I usually don't have them much at night......although that's when most people seem to have theirs. That's a bummer that you had a period after 10 months. But I think it's a good sign you went so long without one. I just knew I was going to have a period the night before my 12 months....but I didn't! yeah! I guess I'm "officially" post menopausal. Who would ever have thought I would ever look forward to getting a little older, just to have all this crazyiness stop?!
I called the doctor and told him my PVCs were increasing, and he said just to wait for my appointment and stress echo in February. Here's hoping he knows what he's doing! I figure if I don't have other bad symptoms of heart problems, I'm probably okay. I think our bodies sense somethings amiss when we have the PVCs and get a bit alarmed. It's really a scary feeling.....but I suppose if I have them for years and don't die, I will relax a little. They're just a pain. I know some people have tons of them and don't know it......so I guess we're all different in what we notice. I figure that big heartbeat we have after the PVC is a good sign that our heart muscle is doing what it's supposed to. (In case you don't know.....when we have an early beat, the heart knows to wait a little longer for the next one, to get back to a normal rhythm, and then it has more blood to pump out for that next beat, so it has to contract harder).
Do you ever get PVCs that feel like water sloshing around in your chest? Sometimes the beat isn't as forceful,
but it feels like gurling instead. Must be a PVC from a different location.
Yellowhair.........I've tried and tried to figure out if I have a food intolerance of some kind, but it's always different. I think it probably has something to do with the nerves that run along the esophogus, or all the enzymes/hormones released during eating (like epinephrine). Sure would like to know for sure, since it's so curious a thing. Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 7:52AM
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Rainebeau22

CatherineT, yours are just like mine, right down to the cough! I think I know what you mean about the feeling of water sloshing around in your chest--you're waiting for the big beat, but it's sort of soft and muffled (?). I never thought to connect the PVCs with food I ate, just to what I drink--caffeine, alcohol, etc. I have been wondering if environmental changes can bring them on. We just went through a big remodeling, had our cottage cheese ceilings scraped and our floors ripped out, and I noticed a big surge of PVC activity. Or maybe just the stress of it all. They calmed down, though. Since I've had them for over ten years, I consider them more of a nuisance than a threat. I did start taking fish oil though. And speaking of epinephrine, do you get carbocaine instead of novocaine when you go to the dentist? Novocaine has epinephrine in it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 2:33AM
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catherinet

Hi Rainebeau,
At first I thought I got PVCs with certain foods, but for the past week, I can't seem to make the same associations. I have the feeling it's just at certain times (hormone-wise). For the past few days, I hardly had any......and I ate all the bad stuff! Go figure.
Yes, sometimes instead of getting the big bang, mine are muffled. I used to just feel the big bang (which is the first beat after the PVC), but now I think I'm feeling the PVC and the big bang beat. Wish I weren't so perceptive!! It drives me crazy.......I also hear too much too......sounds are very loud to me, when others don't notice them. I have fibromyalgia, and I've talked to alot of others who have this heightened awareness of their senses too. I have a stress echo in 2 weeks. If my heart checks out normal, I'll probably be able to ignore these beats alot more (hopefully), but they're still a pain.
Is carbocaine without the epi? I used to ask for no epi all the time, because many times it would induce a panic attack (another weird thing I had to live with). But I seem to have gotten over that, and find that the stuff with epi does a better job at dulling the pain from the drill.
I haven't been to the dentist since all these funky beats started.......so I don't know what that stress will do. After I was started on a beta blocker for hypertension, my dental visits have been easier! :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 10:24AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

You might check on the Epinephrine business. I stopped breathing and couldn't move in surgery with Carbocaine. I thought they said that I was fortunate becasue the Carbocaine had Epinephrine in it.
Sammy

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 7:54PM
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Rainebeau22

Hmmm, Catherine, interesting--I have fibromyalgia too. Maybe it's a fibro/PVC thing and not a meno/PVC thing? Who knows, certainly not the doctors! Good luck on your stress test, let us know!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 3:54PM
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catherinet

Hi Rainebeau,
Hmmmm.....you know, awhile back, when I was having a ton of my IBS symptoms, I wondered about something. In addition to my PVC's, I also get funky sensations in my chest. They're hard to explain. I don't think they're my heart.....but they feel like they are, or maybe in my lungs.....but I started wondering about trigger points, and if they could possibly cause PVCs, or some of the other places in my chest that give me strange sensations.
Maybe having fibromyalgia makes all our muscles funky in some way.......and the heart is just a big muscle. Hmmm....you've given me something to think about!
P.S......I've heard that our esophoguses have alot of nerves running down them, and some of them also go to the heart. For awhile, I was thinking maybe those nerves were getting stimulated every time I ate..... who knows for sure. A person could go crazy trying to figure some of these funky things out! (especially when the doctors don't try very hard to!).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 7:34PM
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mjmercer

I, too, had palpitations when I first started going through a VERY early menopause. I immediately went to see my doctor. Ironically she had no clue at that time, that one was connected to the other.

It was only as I got further into my own research that I realized lots of menopausal women have palpitations.

It can be related to stress. It also can be related to caffeine intake. But these days it's hard to completely avoid stress. And personally I am not giving up my morning cup of coffee. It's too enjoyable.

As for wine, I prefer to enjoy a glass of something red once or twice a day. The wine helps clean out plaque from the lining of our hearts. Which is a decent trade-off IMHO.

By the way, my palpitations disappeared as I progressed through perimenopause into "full-blown" menopause.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 9:06AM
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catherinet

Hi MJ,
I'm glad to hear your palps have disappeared. It gives me hope! What is curious for me is that I didn't start getting them until I hadn't had a period for about 8 months, and still have them (13 months). Also, mine are so related to when I eat. Right when I start eating, they start up. I suppose there are so many enzymes, hormones, etc. associated with eating, so I guess it's not surprising.......but it sure is scary!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 10:13AM
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harvwald

This is an older post, but in case anyone is still interested in the subject, I thought I'd add my experience. I too started developing heart palpitations in perimenopause. What helped me was cutting down on caffeine (I don't drink any coffee after noon) and trying to eliminate sulfates. I say "try" because I usually don't know until too late that they are in foods. Red wine often has them. One other thing that sets mine off are medications with antihistamine. The slightest little bit will start them. I tried Tylenol PM to help me sleep one night, and was kept up half the night with a booming heart. So I would suggest taking a good look at what you ingest. Caffeine, sulfates, antihistamines and any other sneaky substances that are in your foods!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 3:49PM
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catherinet

Thanks Harvwald,
I finally had a stress echo to rule out a heart problem, and thankfully it was normal. I only had irregular heartbeats afterwards! I still have them, but now that I know I'm not going to die from them, they're less frightening. I still can't figure them out.....sometimes I go a day or 2 without them, and other times I have them all through the day. I still have my afternoon caffeine.....even if it makes them worse, since I know my heart is okay.
With so many women having them in menopause, you'd think the docs would know this.....but they don't.
Can't wait 'til this fun time is over!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2004 at 4:45PM
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yellowhair

Hi,
Just wanted to tell you that I had some irregular heartbeats a week or so ago----I think they've gone now----but I'm wondering if it wasn't some sinus medication that I was using. It was one of those stronger non-drowsy formulas. I stopped taking them, this week has been pretty clear.

I'm not used to taking a lot of medicine. An occasional aspirin. I've just about sworn off sinus medicine----it either makes my head feel strange, I can't think clearly, or possibly these irregular heartbeats. Woe is me. lol lol Take care. sue

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 11:13AM
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delora

Was wondering if there was a link between prometrium, and abnormal heart beats.
Thank-you,
Jane

    Bookmark   June 5, 2004 at 3:22PM
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joann23456

I have PVCs after a serious arrythmia leading to cardiac arrest. They are nearly always benign. They can be caused or exacerbated by caffeine, smoking, various drugs.

Certainly enough to get an EKG and whatever diagnostic tests are recommended, but rarely anything to worry about.

I find that now I know they're not dangerous, I relax more when I feel one.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 12:24AM
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stacey_2007

I am 52, had a partial hysterectomy in my 40's, still have my ovaries so I don't have periods and can't tell if I am beginning menopause or not. I don't think I have ever had a hot flash. I have suddenly began to have irregular heartbeats during the last three weeks and they get worse when I eat. When I told others about this they look at me like I am nuts, I find it somewhat comforting to read that someone else has experienced what I am but I don't understand what is happening. It is scary

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 7:58AM
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lili22

Hello, everyone.
I'm a brand new user, and I have to tell you that I've been suffering from heart irregularity for the past three years and I'm ready to throw in the towel. Not only do I get the irregular beats, but the heart rate can just drop suddenly from 85 to 47 beats. And I've seen it on my heart rate watch. They are scarry and exhausting. I get dizzy with them. My thigh muscles get really tired, like I worked out for hours. I just don't know what to do.
I'm all into alternative medicine and I've read and know quite a bit, but this is definitely a dilema for me.
I thought that when I get my thyroid medication that all will be okay. I thought it was my thyroid. I thought when I go on "natural" progesterone, that all will be okay. I'm taking Don Quai. I'm taking DIM. I'm taking coral calcium, potassium, magnesium. I've had a stress test done, and my heart is okay. I'm taking MSM. You name it, I've heard of it or tried it or am taking it. I just want these darn irregularities to stop because I feel like one day I will literally die from them. And that's what scares me. I have a stressfull career, which is a detriment, I know. But bills have to be paid!
Is there anyone out there who can recommend anything that they've tried and that helped their heart irregularity.
Thank you so much. Lili

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 9:58PM
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marys1000

Just FYI on the esophogeous(sp) thing. My doctor thought my shortness of breath could be related to heartburn because of constriction etc.
So you may be on to something. Dr's sure as h*** don't know it all and frankly I don't think that many really care about menopause.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 6:26PM
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serenelyfrantic

Hi Lilli22

I UNDERSTAND. If you have not had your heart tested with an echocardiogram, I would consider that on my high priority list. This way you will rule out any heart disease. (Remember: Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Now that I have scared the daylights out of you, take a deep breath and keep reading.
I KNOW what it feels like to suddenly out of the blue start having irregular heartbeats. April 11 2007 my world, as I knew it, came crashing down, when early one morning I stood up from my desk, climbed the stairs and when I reached the top I could not breath, my heart was pounding in my ears,my thigh muscles were quivering and I was near fainting.
I am a retired nurse. I calmly found my blood pressure cuff and noted that both B/P and Heart Rate was rapidly accelerating. I called the rescue squad. Long story short, I was sent to a cardiologist where they proceeded to do a 24 hour holter monitor test. Diagnosis: non-specific tachycardia (rapid heart rate) that is "not to be concerned with." August 2007, I found myself back in the ER
with the exact same symptons. This time my cardiologist ran the Echo. My heart is in fine working condition. While laying there having the test, I had a nice conversation with the technician who is about 47 and a very healthy runner. She told me she too has non-specific tachycardia and her heart will race up to 177 beats when she is sitting still and then will immediately drop back down to her normal resting heart rate. She works in the cardiology department and there is no reason for her racing heart, other than the theory that has yet to be "proven" by what appears to be an ignorant medical research society. That theory? Estrogen flucuation. If you go to reputable websites you can read this theory.. irregular heartbeats are connected to estrogen flucuation..there is just no proof.
As far as your herbal usage I think it is wonderful that you are open to other means of treatment, however I have found that sometimes the very herbs we take can have a negative effect. By taking so many one would never know which one could have that effect. I do know from speaking with other ladies that Don Quai has negative side effects for some. I also know from personal experience that taking yam extract natural progesterone can have a negative side effect too. What I am saying is: I believe if I wasn't sure an herb was working I would want to know which ones were and how would you go about finding that out? By eliminating one at a time..just a suggestion.
But first I would have that echo..just another suggestion and then if your tests are fine..perhaps you might need your thyroid medication adjusted. My mother had thyroid disease and she had to have her medication adjusted many times over her lifetime. That little "butterfly" at your throat can make ones heart flip flop unmercifully.It is such a powerful mechanism that is so readily overlooked by the medical profession.
Now for what I do..sometimes I am like my name "serenely frantic" meaning I may look calm on the outside but on the inside I am going batty with the racing heart...but now that I know it is "the change" and I know that I am not going to die...I exercise..eat right...dropped my coffee to a small cup in the a.m., stay away from simple carbs, colas, negative people, anything containing stimulants, (over the counter cough, cold, or even prescription drugs) I also take time for me. It is a MUST as it appears that irregular heart beats are the norm for a lot of peri and post menopausal women. Now it appears that you are an educated researcher and advocate for yourself, so please make sure you have a doctor who takes you seriously. If they do not then it is time to move on. Hope this has been of some help and that I was not too blunt.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 7:54PM
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shotzy52

I enjoyed reading your message, can ask what the butterfly at your throat means. I have had that feeling alot over the last few years. I wore a heart monitor for a whole month and of course it never happened that month. I thought it was tied to caffiene, sugar or a combo of both, but sometimes it happens when none of those things are in play. I almost thought it was anxiety at one time. But I have ruled that out as well. I am seeing a therapist for General Anxiety Disorder so I would like to feel like I am working on that. I have had a thryoid blood work done a couple of times and it is within normal limits. So...possibly post menopausal stuff. Tell me more. Shotzy

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 9:19PM
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jen49

I think there is a HUGE connection between irregular heartbeats and menopause! 3 mos after I had a complete hysterectomy I woke up at 5 am one morning with my heart going crazy. I thought I was dying, never so scared before in my life. My husband called 911 and after being hooked up to a heart monitor in the ER it was determined that I have atrial fibrillation. It SUCKS. I've had 6 or 7 episodes now and have to be on a med to keep my heart rate and blood pressure down AND I have to be on Coumadin, a blood thinner, because when your heart beats irregularly, the blood doesn't pump normally. It "pools" in the chamber and can get a clot which can give you a major stroke. NO ONE will tell me it's related to being in menopause but I KNOW I didn't have this till I had my hysterctomy and lost my ovaries. By the way, I also notice that I can feel it more after eating, especially a lot of sugar.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 1:15PM
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want2bnormal

Aloe Vera capsules - 2 per day. Took care of the irregular heartbeats for me. Found it on this site. Hope all is better for you now.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 8:05AM
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